The Kenney Government will do whatever it can to block Ottawa’s plan to implement stricter firearms regulations that include buying back AR-15 military-style rifles and similar weapons that were banned two years ago, Justice Minister Tyler Shandro sternly vowed yesterday.
The government is willing to go all the way to stop the “gun grab,” a tired-looking, tieless and rather scruffy Mr. Shandro yesterday told a news conference, which has been recorded and posted to the Internet for the edification of all.
This includes, wait for it, going to court – presumably to try to prove that the federal government doesn’t have jurisdiction in federal jurisdiction. (Yeah, that’s what I meant. Read it again if it’s not clear.)
But “all options are on the table”!
“Alberta has been told that the federal government will use the RCMP to confiscate firearms – as they did during the 2013 floods – when the RCMP seized over 600 firearms during the notorious High River gun grab,” said Mr. Shandro’s canned quote in the government’s press release. “Actions taken today will seek to prevent history from repeating itself. Further options are being explored and all options are on the table.”
Like what? Separation? Nuclear weapons?
“The planned confiscations represent a failed approach to reducing violence in Canadian society and are unwarranted and unacceptable infringements on the property rights and personal freedoms of Albertans,” piped up Teri Bryant, Alberta’s “chief firearms officer,” during the newser.
She was hired to a new position in August 2021 by the Kenney Government, apparently to obstruct the enforcement of federal firearms laws.
In addition to accusing the Trudeau Government of planning to “confiscate” already-illegal weapons for which it’s willing to pay up to $6,209 ($1,337 for an AR-15), Mr. Shandro’s and Ms. Bryant’s publicity minions have also sent sent an angry, tendentiously worded letter to other provincial governments, asking them to join The Resistance, and letters to federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and RCMP K Division Commanding Officer Curtis Zablocki blustering about the program.
In his letters, Mr. Shandro repeated the claim popular with the “law abiding firearms community” (Ms. Bryant’s phrase) that assault-style weapons were banned “simply because the ‘style’ of the firearm was deemed to be aesthetically displeasing” – never mind the undeniable fact that such appearance is intended to be marketed to immature gun enthusiasts seeking to enhance their fragile machismo.
So Mr. Shandro is clearly trying to pick a fight with the feds to score a point with one of the dark corners of the UCP base just as Premier Jason Kenney attempts to rebrand himself as an elder statesman and dignified advocate of civility.
Just why they’re trying to do this right now when the Kenney Government is only going to be around for another nine or 10 days, or possibly a couple of weeks at most, is unclear and probably not worth speculating about.
Mr. Shandro has demonstrated talent for picking fights – with doctors, neighbours whose social media posts he didn’t like, and lately legal aid lawyers. Indeed, that seems to be what Mr. Kenney chose him to do when he made him health minister in April 2019.
But despite the ridiculous claims and inflammatory language in yesterday’s press release, this performative effort is highly unlikely to get a rise out of Ottawa.
I mean, c’mon! There are experienced politicians on the Liberal side in Ottawa. Why would they even bother responding to a pipsqueak like Mr. Shandro when there’s a good chance in another couple of weeks he’ll be relegated to the backbenches?
Indeed, give it a few more months and, if he seeks re-election, the voters of Calgary-Acadia may well bluntly suggest he return to his own practice of law – assuming the Law Society of Alberta lets him after considering whether he broke their Code of Conduct while serving Mr. Kenney’s government.
Mr. Shandro’s disciplinary hearing is scheduled to take place Oct. 17-19.
In other words, the reaction in Ottawa, and in provincial capitals other than Regina as well, is likely to be summarized as follows: Pffffffft!
Well, give Mr. Shandro credit for one thing – at least he’s threatening to challenge a law he disagrees with in the courts.
That may not be very likely to succeed, but at least it doesn’t show utter contempt for the rule of law like the candidate most likely to be sworn in as unelected premier of Alberta when Mr. Kenney leaves the building on Oct. 6 or soon thereafter.